Tofu consumption and blood lead levels in young Chinese adults

Publication Type:
Journal Article
American Journal of Epidemiology, 2001, 153 (12), pp. 1206 - 1212
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Tofu is a commonly consumed food in China. Tofu may interfere with lead absorption and retention because of its high calcium content. In this observational study, the authors examined whether dietary tofu intake was associated with blood lead levels among young adults in Shenyang, China. The analyses included 605 men and 550 women who completed baseline questionnaires and had blood lead measurements taken in 1996-1998 as part of a prospective cohort study on reproductive health. Mean blood lead levels were 13.2 μg/dl in men and 10.1 μg/dl in women. Blood lead levels were negatively associated with tofu intake in both genders. A linear trend test showed a 3.7% (0.5-μg/dl) decrease in blood lead level with each higher category of tofu intake (p = 0.003). The highest tofu intake group (≥750 g/week) had blood lead levels 11.3% lower (95% confidence interval: 4.1, 18.0) than those of the lowest tofu intake group (<250 g/week). In all regression models, data were adjusted for gender, age, height, body mass index, district, cigarette smoking, alcohol drinking, education, occupation, use of vitamin supplements, season, and dietary intake of meat, fish, vegetables, eggs, and milk. In conclusion, the authors found a significant inverse dose-response relation between tofu consumption and blood lead levels in this Chinese population.
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